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Write a Children's Book About a Female Scientist

Students will analyze different types of children's books. Then they will select a famous female scientist, conduct research to learn about her work and life and write a children's book about her.

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, gather a variety of children's books written about famous people to share with the class. Include examples of board books, picture books, early readers and chapter books. If necessary, ask your school librarian for help in selecting titles.
  2. Invite students to examine the books in small groups. Then, as a class, discuss the difference between the various types of children's books. If you like, have students conduct research online to identify publisher guidelines for writing each type of book. Or, after students thoroughly examine the books, have them create a list of guidelines of their own. Either way, be sure to identify at minimum specifications for word count, page count, photos or illustrations, special features and sidebars.
  3. Next, have students brainstorm a list of famous female scientists. If you wish, give students time to conduct research to add more names to the list.
  4. Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Instruct students to select one female scientist from the list and the type of children's book they would like to write. Instruct them to conduct research to learn about that person's life. Then give them time to write and illustrate their books.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their books with the class. Encourage classmates to analyze the structure of the book to ensure writers followed the established guidelines for the type of book they produced. Also invite them to identify the most interesting things they learned about each female scientist.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct group members to select a female scientist to write about and conduct research to learn about her. Encourage them to create a board book or a picture book for younger children that celebrates the scientist's work and life.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct group members to select a female scientist to write about and conduct research to learn about her. Encourage them to create a picture book that celebrates the scientist's work and life. Challenge them to create their own illustrations for each spread in the book.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to select a female scientist to write about and conduct research to learn about her. Encourage them to create a picture book or chapter book that celebrates the scientist's work and life. Challenge them to include at least three sidebars and a variety of fast facts about the scientist in their books.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to select a female scientist to write about and conduct research to learn about her. Encourage them to write a 48-page chapter book that celebrates the scientist's work and life. Instruct them to include at least three sidebars, a timeline and a variety of fast facts about the scientist in their books. Challenge them use language suitable for a student in grades 3-5.